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Old 08-05-09, 07:00 AM   #1
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Gearing for credit card touring

Over the next year I'm going to convert my steel framed Cyclocross/commuter bike into a light touring bike. The bike accepts a wide range of racks and wheel/tires and should make a comfortable multiday tourer capable of carrying 20 to 25 lbs of gear. This weight range would include the racks, fenders, safety equipment, supplies and travel clothing. the bike & gear should weight less than 50 lbs total when fully loaded. I would like to cover 80 miles/day in 5 hours.

I'm considering gearing for the bike. I don't see the need for more than 46t as the largest chainring. I'm considering a 46t & 34t compact double with a 11-32 cassette. This would be a low cost solution.

Would this gearing allow a typical touring cyclist to climb longer 10% grades? I would like to avoid using a triple.

Michael
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Old 08-05-09, 07:07 AM   #2
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Honestly depends on your legs, is it possible? Definitely if you are in decent cycling shape.

Just remember doing 80 miles a day in 5 hours might be easy one day, but can you hold that pace 5 days in a row? how about 10? I find that a lot of people underestimate the long term fatigue that can set in.
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Old 08-05-09, 07:15 AM   #3
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Honestly depends on your legs, is it possible? Definitely if you are in decent cycling shape.

Just remember doing 80 miles a day in 5 hours might be easy one day, but can you hold that pace 5 days in a row? how about 10? I find that a lot of people underestimate the long term fatigue that can set in.
I'm also concerned about fatigue. I would try to add rest days to the schedule. This would allow some sightseeing and give me time off the bike. I've been considering 3 days of traveling to 1 day of rest. I would try to put rest days ahead of traveling days that include long climbs.

Does that strategy have merit?

Michael
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Old 08-05-09, 07:24 AM   #4
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Having used a compact for 10's of thousands of miles... although with a 28/34 combo all I can say is it depends.

If the terrain is moderate and you keep your load light.... sure.

If you are doing the Western passes day after day I would say you can but it would not be pleasant. It would be hard to keep your cadence up.

Fitness is the key. Not the ride into shape type but your base. You'll need it for recovery.

When you say climbing what do you mean? 5-10 thousand feet of it in a day like I do quite often while touring or 1-2 thousand feet? That would be the information needed to make a decision.

Just to give you an idea........ I can't put in a 20 miles ride without less than 2K feet of ascent from my doorstep. Just the way it is.

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Old 08-05-09, 07:37 AM   #5
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I have a good base of 500 to 650 miles/month and about 5000 miles/year. The problem is hills. I have no problem climbing the 15% hills I travel locally, but these are no more than a half mile long. I'll not have the chance to ride longer hills until I begin to tour. These tours will be once a year as vacation time permits.

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Old 08-05-09, 08:07 AM   #6
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Credit card tour load can be way less than 20 pounds.

I was ok on my 30x27 low gear on my road triple, riding over 5000' climbing a day on a 4 day tour with 11 pounds (rack + bags + gear) on my 17.5 pound road bike. That's a 29.2" low gear. (THat was in the Rockies - grades are usually 6-8% here with shorter 10% sections)

You're proposing a 27.9" low gear. -- seems OK. I'm guessing you are strong.

On the other hand, on my 33 pound tour bike carrying up to 45 pounds of stuff, the low gear of 22X34 (17.0") is not too low.

I don't know that the "typical" tourist accomplishes 80 miles in 5 hours. Perhaps you are much fitter than most tourists. I generally lose about 20% of my average speed riding fully loaded.

Look at the Tubus line of racks (www.thetouringstore.com) and Lone Peak panniers (same) for high-quality lightweight racks & bags.
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Old 08-05-09, 08:15 AM   #7
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I think my bike & gear will weigh more than your road bike but far less than your touring rig. The bike weights 23 lbs with no gear and 32 spoke wheels and 700 x 28 sized tires. I'll put 36 spoke wheels with stronger spokes as I convert the bike for touring.

I'm a fit 205 lbs, 52 year old male. I can do 110 miles in 6 hours on this bike when it is equipped for century rides and weighs 28 lbs.

Michael
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Old 08-05-09, 08:24 AM   #8
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I'm also concerned about fatigue. I would try to add rest days to the schedule. This would allow some sightseeing and give me time off the bike. I've been considering 3 days of traveling to 1 day of rest. I would try to put rest days ahead of traveling days that include long climbs.

Does that strategy have merit?

Michael
I would say 3 on 1 off is a decent strategy but the single best strategy especially if you are going long term is flexibility. Listen to your body, be stern with it, but listen, if you wake up on day 2 and realize you need the rest, take it. If you wake up on day 4 and feel good, let it ride.
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Old 08-05-09, 09:09 AM   #9
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Over the next year I'm going to convert my steel framed Cyclocross/commuter bike into a light touring bike. The bike accepts a wide range of racks and wheel/tires and should make a comfortable multiday tourer capable of carrying 20 to 25 lbs of gear. This weight range would include the racks, fenders, safety equipment, supplies and travel clothing. the bike & gear should weight less than 50 lbs total when fully loaded. I would like to cover 80 miles/day in 5 hours.

I'm considering gearing for the bike. I don't see the need for more than 46t as the largest chainring. I'm considering a 46t & 34t compact double with a 11-32 cassette. This would be a low cost solution.

Would this gearing allow a typical touring cyclist to climb longer 10% grades? I would like to avoid using a triple.

Michael
First, 20-25 pounds of gear equates to loaded touring in my opinion. So even if you aren't camping and cooking you are in at least the lower range of loaded touring as far as the weight carried.

On a recent tour I did some 6% grades carrying 30ish pounds and didn't shift below the 36T middle ring and the 32 cog so you are probably fine for 6% or so if you don't mind a bit of mashing.

Still, If I were touring the the Rockies with 25 pounds of gear I would go for a triple, maybe a 46-36-26 (or 24) and an 11-32 (or 11-34). For the Appalachians I would definitely go for the triple.

I think that I could have done everything on the Trans America in the Cascades and Rockies with a 36T inner and a 26T cog, but I often found it well worth having the 26T inner. In the Appalachians I absolutely would want a 26T or smaller inner ring. That said everyone is different.

Also if the weight were a bit lower it would help. Credit card touring it shouldn't be hard to get to 10-15 pounds if not less.

We met a guy who was loaded touring using pretty close to road bike gearing on the TA and he beat us up all of the climbs, but he did go home and have knee surgery 700 miles or so into what was supposed to be a 4200+ mile trip. Was the knee problem because of the gearing? Maybe and maybe not, but it is something to consider.
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Old 08-05-09, 09:16 AM   #10
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I'm also concerned about fatigue. I would try to add rest days to the schedule. This would allow some sightseeing and give me time off the bike. I've been considering 3 days of traveling to 1 day of rest. I would try to put rest days ahead of traveling days that include long climbs.

Does that strategy have merit?

Michael
It depends on what works for you. I generally prefer to ride every day and take half days once in a while. You can ride a few hours and still have plenty of time to sightsee, hike, or whatever. On the entire TA we only took two days off, one day for an injury to one of our party and one day to go whitewater rafting. Even on those two days we still stayed a different place than we did the night before so we still rode a bit.

I suggest that you try and see what works best for you, but don't rule out using short days once in a while rather than days off.
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Old 08-05-09, 09:26 AM   #11
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First, 20-25 pounds of gear equates to loaded touring in my opinion. So even if you aren't camping and cooking you are in at least the lower range of loaded touring as far as the weight carried.

On a recent tour I did some 6% grades carrying 30ish pounds and didn't shift below the 36T middle ring and the 32 cog so you are probably fine for 6% or so if you don't mind a bit of mashing.

Still, If I were touring the the Rockies with 25 pounds of gear I would go for a triple, maybe a 46-36-26 (or 24) and an 11-32 (or 11-34). For the Appalachians I would definitely go for the triple.

I think that I could have done everything on the Trans America in the Cascades and Rockies with a 36T inner and a 26T cog, but I often found it well worth having the 26T inner. In the Appalachians I absolutely would want a 26T or smaller inner ring. That said everyone is different.

Also if the weight were a bit lower it would help. Credit card touring it shouldn't be hard to get to 10-15 pounds if not less.

We met a guy who was loaded touring using pretty close to road bike gearing on the TA and he beat us up all of the climbs, but he did go home and have knee surgery 700 miles or so into what was supposed to be a 4200+ mile trip. Was the knee problem because of the gearing? Maybe and maybe not, but it is something to consider.
Yes, I'm starting to reconsider the triple.

The weights I'm using include fenders, racks, filled water bottles, spare equipment & tools. I'll have to assemble all the gear and weigh it to know for sure.

I'll consider a 48t, 36t & 26t triple with a 11-32 cassette. Better safe than sorry.

Michael
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Old 08-05-09, 09:44 AM   #12
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110/74 bcd triple crank with your choice of rings or the LX touring 48-36-26.

i'd suggest a standard road triple in the 'new' 50-39-30 and replace the 30 with a 28 or even a 26 if you want total bailout climbing gear.... road triple front derailleur should shift 50-26

i have a LX crank set up with 48-36-24 and XT FD on my heavy tourer.
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Old 08-05-09, 10:29 AM   #13
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Yes, I'm starting to reconsider the triple.

The weights I'm using include fenders, racks, filled water bottles, spare equipment & tools. I'll have to assemble all the gear and weigh it to know for sure.

I'll consider a 48t, 36t & 26t triple with a 11-32 cassette. Better safe than sorry.

Michael
Michael,

With a light load or heavy load and good base fitness this combo will get you over anything.

Even a 30 would work great if you keep you load light.
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Old 08-05-09, 10:36 AM   #14
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Just to give you an idea........ I can't put in a 20 miles ride without less than 2K feet of ascent from my doorstep. Just the way it is.
I would move.
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Old 08-05-09, 10:42 AM   #15
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I would move.

I love climbing. I get bored to tears riding flats. Sure you have a faster average speed but you don't get to hit the mid 40mph speeds everyday With the views I have at my doorstep.... it's very worth it.

According to my Garmin 305.. Last 7 days have been light. 12,893 Ft of ascent. Pretty wimpy.
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Old 08-05-09, 11:04 AM   #16
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Michael,

With a light load or heavy load and good base fitness this combo will get you over anything.

Even a 30 would work great if you keep you load light.
What about a 12-27 cassette with the triple? I could keep my 10 speed brifters and long cage RD.

Michael
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Old 08-05-09, 11:23 AM   #17
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What about a 12-27 cassette with the triple? I could keep my 10 speed brifters and long cage RD.

Michael
I have an 11/28 Sram that works pretty well. I throw it on my compact 34/50 when I'm hitting the really steep stuff. Works with Long Cage DA just fine despite what Shimano says. Don't use this combo for touring but do use it for super steep climbing. YMMV.

With a light load it might be a good way to go.
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Old 08-05-09, 12:10 PM   #18
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I have an 11/28 Sram that works pretty well. I throw it on my compact 34/50 when I'm hitting the really steep stuff. Works with Long Cage DA just fine despite what Shimano says. Don't use this combo for touring but do use it for super steep climbing. YMMV.

With a light load it might be a good way to go.
I'll try a 48t, 36t & 26t triple with the 12-27 road cassette a few times. If I can do a hilly Century while loaded with touring gear I might just stick with that.

Michael
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Old 08-05-09, 12:17 PM   #19
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I'll try a 48t, 36t & 26t triple with the 12-27 road cassette a few times. If I can do a hilly Century while loaded with touring gear I might just stick with that.

Michael
I'd be pretty surprised if you didn't like it. Sure would be what i'd try first.
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Old 08-05-09, 12:29 PM   #20
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Thanks!

Michael
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